Psychology ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2023


Previous research has observed significant group differences regarding neuroanatomical and psychosocial variables between incarcerated boys who have and have not previously committed a homicide, resulting in successful postdictive classification (Cope et al., 2014). However, no study to date has investigated whether similar group differences characterize future homicide offenders. Following the methodology of Cope et al. (2014), the current study aimed to identify baseline neural, clinical, and environmental deficits (collected in a sample of n = 242 incarcerated juvenile offenders) associated with future homicidal behavior as adults. Results indicated that youth who went on to commit homicide as adults were characterized by higher psychopathic traits and reduced gray matter volume in brain regions related to affective processing compared to youth who did not commit a homicide as adults. The current study provides the foundation for further longitudinal studies investigating the development of traits and neural deficits associated with future homicide, potentially lending to more accurate re-offense risk assessment and early behavioral intervention.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Kent A. Kiehl, PhD

Second Committee Member

Eric Ruthruff, PhD

Third Committee Member

Jeremy Hogeveen, PhD




Juvenile Offenders, Neuroimaging, Homicide, Future Offending

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Included in

Psychology Commons